Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Coot club

Another grey day at Big waters it was Friday I think, not much happening but as the water levels were up the Coots came to the fore. The weed which attracts the Wigeon and Gadwall was out of reach of them, so they followed the Coots around. The coots dived down and surfaced with weed then the parasitic ducks grabbed the stuff and filled their boots. There was no aggression from the Coots they just ate what they could and dived again.  

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Irresistible iridescence

Took a trip up to Cresswell today to catch up with the Glossy ibis in the horse field north of the Lynemouth flash. First thing it was dull and it looked like a big black curlew so I left it in peace just over the wall and out of site from northbound cars. Next stop was Cresswell pond which was busy with wildfowl including 2Whoopers . The fields and sky were full of Pinkfeet, well over 2000 in all. From the budge hide, Shovler  showed well  but I did not find the Green winged teal in the short time I allowed myself to linger there (it was starting to brighten up and a date with my Ibis friend beckoned )
Up at Hauxley I bumped into some old and new pals then it was Fish and chip time. Totally stuffed the sunshine said Ibis  I listened the Ibis glistened and my first british lifer in years was snapped and ticked.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Big waters Bittern

 Today at a dull grey Big waters 3 Otters and a Bittern were the highlights but there was still a lot of wildfowl on the pond. The ducks today were skittish and I could not find the Scaup, however on Saturday it was zoomed in good light also there a few Pinkfeet. Killy lake was its usual self and my favorite ducks showed well.

200x zoom action

Friday, 10 January 2014

Budge hide Blackwit

Had a run up the coast today the bird of the trip was a Black tailed godwit seen from the budge hide with a lot of Curlew. Also there Pintail, Shoveler, lots of Lapwing and a few Redshank. A solo Whooper swan sitting in the rushes was a concern, is it sick or injured? Cresswell pond had an Otter in the distance and calling Water rail but was otherwise quiet. 3 pair of Stonechat were seen on the roadside links up to Amble where fish and chips and a Haggis were spotted and dealt with.
last night a drunken attempt at planet photography had ok results I might use a tripod next time
 Newbiggin by the sea was host to a few Mediterranean gulls some of which were colour ringed  

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Blue sky thinking

 Put the car into the garage for MOT and walked down to Prestwick carr, at first it was overcast but the sun shone brightly after a while. As a sufferer of vertigo I stayed well clear of the viewing platform and stayed on the bumpy road. No surprises today but Willow tits, Bullfinch and a smart Great spotted woodpecker made it a good visit.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Big waters Scaup

Went to Big waters today and despite the cold wind it was nice and bright, wildfowl covered the lake. The best being a distant Scaup, photographed using the 200x zoom. The feeding station was busy Willow tits the stars there. An Otter showed for a while making this the fourth time in a row I've seen one there. The most amazing thing today was news that birders in Cramlington can identify Kittiwakes and other birds at a distance of 4 miles and so add them to patch lists. Watch out for Manx shearwater on the Big waters list soon as I plan to climb a pylon with my good scope and speculate away.

Friday, 3 January 2014

2013 looking back

A year which for me was mainly dominated by work but I did get to Big waters on a fairly regular basis. As for the rest of the county and its good year of raraties Zip diddly squat. A trip to the Farnes with 4 of my nieces was an undoubted highlight also a days fishing and walk through the woods with them lifted my spirits. Sara and me went up to Orkney for the folk festival and some birding and beer. A day at the Ashes was good fun and filled me with hope for the future of English cricket. A holiday in Malaysia was not long enough but hit the spot, exept for the wife's transgression on the Great hornbill front.
January had a cold snap

The hornbill queen drinking my beer

The future of the Forster clan

The future of English cricket

The best hornbill photo of the trip NOT!
My new year resolutions are to smoke more tabs drink more beer and do more birding, hopefully the last will be as easy to do as the first two.